If it weren’t for the Kerners, the Moravian Church may never have come to Kernersville. Of course, the town itself may still have the name Dobsons Crossroads.
The children of Joseph Kerner-John F., Philip (Körner), and Salome Harmon-were members of Friedland, and by the 1840’s they were having their minister pay regular preaching visits at their crossroads seven miles distant. After the Civil War the Kerners renewed their interest, and on July 15, 1866, a meeting in Kernersville “determined … to establish a branch of the Brethren’ Church at that place.” In response the Southern Province purchased a lot in town from John F. Kerner, and a fine brick church was erected. Bishop George Frederick Bahnson consecrated the church on November 10, 1867, in services attended by nearly all the ministers of the Southern Province. Bishop Bahnson reported that “much interest was manifested by the people in town and in the neighborhood.”
The new congregation was still served by the Friedland minister until 1870 when Br. Isaac Prince was called as first resident pastor. A parsonage, completed in 1874, was home to Christian Lewis Rights, who was pastor from 1873 to 1891. In the early 20th century, Kernersville went for 11 years without an assigned minister, until in 1922 Walser H. Allen, Sr., began his remarkable 25-year pastorate.
A Sunday school annex with lovefeast kitchen was built in 1925. A new spire arose and the church was extensively renovated in 1932. A Christian education building, long planned but delayed by World War II, was completed in 1952, and Br. Allen came from Pennsylvania to attend its dedication on November 18, 1956. The 1867 church received another renovation in 1962, in plenty of time for Kernersville to celebrate its centennial with Br. Allen delivering the anniversary sermon on November 12, 1967. A new parsonage followed in 1970, and Br. Allen probably appreciated that it was “fully electric” and air conditioned, since he had lived in the 1874 parsonage.
On its 128th anniversary on November 8, 1992, Kernersville dedicated its new sanctuary. The 1867 church, meanwhile, has been designated a historic landmark as one of the oldest structures in the town of Kernersville.
On Sunday, June 1, 2003, the new J.F. Nordlie Tracker Organ was dedicated with a special dedication service in the afternoon attended by over 300 people. The installation took several months. A series of recitals were planned through the year 2005.
Let Me Tell You About …
…The Moravian Church Today…
The Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren), as it has been officially known since 1457, is recognized as the oldest Protestant denomination. We are “regular” Protestants, in the mainline, moderate, committed to keeping our focus on serving Christ in the World. The Bible, our love for Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are seen as essential to the life of a Christian. Moravians emphasize faith as being more of a heart experience rather than a head experience, on personal experience of God’s love rather than on abstract doctrinal arguments and theological foundations. The Moravian Church practices a simple, yet meaningful, approach to faith and life that seeks to emphasize Christian faith, hope, and love. Our faith identity is as Christians, followers of Christ, who are affiliated with the Moravian Church as a way of living and expressing our Christian faith. We are Christian first. Then we are Moravians.
While the Moravian Church has its own rich history, especially in the area of hymnody and chorale worship, the Church accepts and uses creeds as The Apostles’ Creed and The Nicene Creed, as well as other statements of faith from other denominations. The Moravian Church recognizes no distinction between those who are one in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Men and women, young and old, who are led by the Holy Spirit are invited to join our fellowship of believers and to use their special gifts and talents to assist in deepening one’s own relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, to have fellowship with other believers, and to seek to spread the Gospel of Christ’s salvation to others.
Welcome to what has often been called the Church of the Heart.